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CONTENTED DEMENTIA a book and method for a good life
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 12:35 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

As I look to other countries for ideas on making life better for those of us living dementia I found a website that teaches care givers how to make it easy and pleasant to provide an environment that calms their loved ones (US) and gives them a happy life. Them and us. I ask my library to order these books now so they are free to public.

I post this here because it helps ME know my "problem" behaviors are easily solved. It reinforces my experiences and beliefs that dementia does to have to be horrific. We may have to teach these things to our caregivers. I think we should.

here is info:


method of helping a person live with dementia, easy to learn.

described as:

A groundbreaking and practical method for managing dementia that will allow both sufferer and care givers to maintain the highest possible quality of life, throughout every stage of Alzheimer's
Dementia is a little-understood and currently incurable illness, but this guide shows how much can be done to maximize the quality of life for people with the condition. A person with dementia will experience random and increasingly frequent memory blanks relating to recent events; feelings, however, remain intact, as do memories of past events, and both can be used in a special way to substitute for more recent information that has been lost. The SPECAL method (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) outlined in this book works by creating links between past memories and the routine activities of daily life in the present. Drawing on real-life examples and user-friendly, tried-and-tested methods, this lifesaver provides essential information and guidance for carers, relatives, and professionals.

when I was diagnosed with early onset dementia I found another book called Learning To Speak Alzheimer's which helped set a course for a good life for me and my husband who takes care of me.

the lessons learned from books like these make life so much easier.
I suggest you order one or both books or get your library to keep copies available.

a reviewer on Amazon about Contented Dementia book wrote:
"`Contented Dementia'. Never have two words been more important in our lives: just as my sister and I were getting desperate last summer (2009) about the relentless debilitating march of our mother's Alzeimer's, we heard of `Contented Dementia' by Oliver James. This book is the distillation of twenty years' work of a remarkable woman, Penny Garner, and all her experience of close, personal hands-on caring: first for her mother who fell victim to Alzeimer's, then for countless other Alzeimer's sufferers whom she has helped achieve contentment despite their deteriorating condition. Penny's no mind-altering-drugs method is deeply person-centered, and involves not questioning the person; letting them be the `expert' on their situation; and not contradicting them. The whole system is known as the SPECAL (Specialized Early Care for Altzeimer's) Method - pronounced `speckle' - , and is influenced by the monitoring tool Dementia Care Mapping developed by Tom Kitwood, professor of Psychogerontology at Bradford University in the 1990s. It's logical, workable and practical: an A-Z of "wraparound care" that both family carers and professionals can easily use.

Our mother Eileen was `disappearing' away from us with her Alzeimer's, and this amazingly helpful book has brought our mother `back' to us. We've rediscovered the real Eileen that her illness had started obscuring. With SPECAL care, our mum can be happy, contented, and very good company again - not the lonely frightened isolated paranoid old lady she had started to become.

This book showed us that our mother simply could no longer store new information efficiently. This was our key to unlock our mother from her growing isolation, from her frustrations, from her fears and her resultant panics and paranoia. She can happily talk about the past, but not what has just happened moments before. We have had to learn a new skill - `Making a Present of the Past'®, as SPECAL puts it.

This advice instantly changed how we related to our mother and she to us. Suddenly the arguments and rows stopped, and the despair faded as we zoned into her version of the world, a world with no stored memories of recent facts.

It is no exaggeration to say all our lives have been totally changed by `Contented Dementia' - and also by the wonderful email and phone help-lines.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly: a life-saver for dementia sufferers and carers alike. A huge thanks to Oliver James for setting down all Penny's fantastic wisdom and experience. With dementia becoming such a massive social issue, the sooner more people are aware of the SPECAL way of caring the better."

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